Outdoor Classroom

outdoor_classroom_plansThe Outdoor Classroom is a parent-based initiative that created approximately 13,000 square feet of central green space and perimeter plantings to ensure ample opportunities for outdoor play and fresh air for Tyler students on a daily basis.  During the first phase of construction, Tyler parents, students, teachers and neighbors planted native trees, grasses and flowers around the perimeter of the playground.

Phase 2 of construction created the green open space of the Outdoor Classroom which allows for teaching multiple disciplines outdoors and also fosters positive interaction with nature based on principles of environmental sustainability and watershed protection.  Age-appropriate and ADA accessible play equipment was installed.

The Tyler Outdoor Classroom was officially “opened” on October 19, 2009 with a special  celebration that included a ribbon cutting ceremony, recognition and thanks, mini “Tours”, and breakfast snacks.

Many THANKS go out to those who made this project possible. The project was originally designed by Katrin Scholz-Barth, a former Tyler parent and an internationally recognized expert in green roof technology and green infrastructure.  Special Thanks to our major funders:

* CVS Caremark/ Boundless Playgrounds
* National Fish and Wildlife Federation
* The Cafritz Foundation
* Capitol Hill Community Foundation
* Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP

Want to Help Keep the Outdoor Classroom Growing?

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

The Outdoor Classroom depends on volunteers to water and maintain the garden. We’ve divided the Outdoor Classroom into three zones for volunteers to care for (click on the image below).

If you’d like to help, please let us know by sending us a message.

Spring 2013 Maintenance Days are:

March 17, 2pm-4pm

April 14, 2pm-4pm

May 19, 2pm-4pm

June 9, 2pm-4pm


Please continue to support Tyler’s Outdoor Classroom. Your donation will help fund the following items:

  • $5 will purchase a plant for the “butterfly rainbow garden”
  • $50 will purchase a shrub
  • $150 will purchase a small tree
  • $200 will purchase a hose reel
  • $250 will purchase a large tree
  • $1000 will purchase a picnic table. 

Make checks payable to DC PTA John Tyler Elementary School.

Suggested children’s reading from noted “green” author Robyn Ringgold.  Tyler families had the privilege of attending an author’s visit with Ms. Ringgold on Oct. 21, 2009 for a special reading of My Mom Eats Tofu, courtesy of our partnership with Turning the Page.

momhugs_150Do you think your Mom does strange things? Well, my Mom hugs trees, rescues bugs, sings with birds, and talks to flowers. Come meet my Mom. You might end up doing strange things too! Delightful illustrations and poetic text hold the attention of young readers and make My Mom Hugs Trees a perfect “read-to-me” book. The story reflects a love and enjoyment of life. Summer’s Mom, with her strange habits, will foster children’s connection to nature.

mometofu_150Summer reveals her Mom’s green ways – planting seeds, eating organic, composting and more in an effort to forewarn her friend before she spends the night. In this kid-friendly book about being a vegetarian, children are exposed to new foods and concepts and the book’s glossary provides a great learning tool.